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A case of mistaken identity

Ever reach for a brand of something on the shelf and find that your hand magically missed the actual brand and grabbed the clever house-brand imitation that looks almost identical? (Such as Safeway’s house brand version of Dr. Pepper, which they ingeniously call “Dr. Skipper”)

You’re not the only one. Apparently a few million other people a year do too.

According MediaPost’s MarketingDaily, these cases of mistaken identity cost marketers more than $2 billion in sales in the U.S., — 70% of consumers are said to have ended up buying the wrong product because of such mixups in the last year. So all of you who grabbed a can of Dr. Skipper are in good company.

Now what to do about it?

Well, for one thing - better branding helps. Products in weak categories that have ineffective design are said to be especially vulnerable to the copycat phenomenon.

And private brands are increasingly moving beyond those sorts of unimaginative tactics anyway, as many retailers build powerful brands of their own, such as Walmart’s Good Value line.

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